Tag Archives: Automatic Transmissions

What Is a Transmission Rebuild?

Learn what’s involved with rebuilding a transmission and if it’s a worthwhile proposition

Take care of your wheels through regularly scheduled preventative maintenance of your car’s transmission, and you may never need to know about transmission rebuilds. However, despite the most devout car owner’s efforts to stay atop of any potential engine troubles, the ravages of time will eventually catch up with your treasured vehicle.

If you’re facing the prospect of a transmission repair, it is helpful to understand what your options are. By knowing a little about rebuilt transmissions, you’ll be better equipped to determine whether you should choose to have your transmission rebuilt, of if you should purchase a new one. Regardless, understanding more about either option may save you money and extend the life of your car.

New Parts May Not Stave off the Inevitable

As it is with any failing mechanical or electrical device, if a potential problem with your vehicle’s transmission is detected early, any repairs or adjustments may be made without requiring a full transmission rebuild.

If there are transmission parts that require replacing, and they are easily accessible, or if the problem is an electrical one, it may be possible to repair the transmission without removing it from the vehicle – that alone will save you time and money. That said, it may be wise to look at the big picture right from the start, and have the technician thoroughly inspect the transmission.

If a few parts of your transmission are damaged, it’s quite possible other parts will require replacing too. But know once the parts replacement process starts, it can become a losing battle. A transmission rebuild may, in fact, be the wisest and most economical choice you make.

What Is the Transmission Rebuild Process?

An important element of transmission diagnosis is determining the cause of the problem, enabling you to make an informed decision whether or not you should proceed with a transmission rebuild. The transmission rebuild process typically includes:

  • Removing the transmission from your vehicle and dismantling it
  • Chemically cleaning the transmission by running it through a parts washer
  • Any wonky transmission parts, plus all seals and gaskets, are replaced with new ones
  • Any required electrical repairs are performed
  • There may have been advances made in your vehicle’s transmission parts and technology since you purchased your car. If so, these updated parts may be included to improve the performance of your transmission and extend its longevity
  • Last but not least, the rebuilt transmission is re-installed in your vehicle

The Cost of a Rebuilt Transmission

As with any automotive repair, the cost of a transmission rebuild varies widely, and it’s determined by a multitude of factors including the type of vehicle you drive, and how extensive the damage is to your transmission. A word to the wise: nobody can tell you exactly what your vehicle’s transmission repair will cost over the phone.

While cost is always an important consideration when faced with a transmission repair, it is also important to consider the value of the repair work performed as well. If the transmission technician or shop you’re dealing with doesn’t offer a 12-month warranty on a transmission rebuild with the option of upgrading it to a five-year warranty on all parts and labour, you’re settling for less, and you may be playing Russian roulette with your vehicle.

Are you experiencing transmission troubles or have questions about your vehicle’s transmission? Visit the Mister Transmission location nearest you and get the expert help you need.

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Transmission Types and History of Development

From starting with manual transmissions, to the introduction of automatic transmissions in 1939 – learn about the evolution of the modern transmission.

The transmission in automobiles is a system of parts usually contained within a housing, connecting the engine to the wheels. Suitable torque, or turning force, is generated by the engine only within a narrow range of engine speeds, i.e., rates at which the crankshaft is turning. However, the wheels must turn with suitable torque over a wide range of speeds. While its speed is held roughly constant, the engine turns an input shaft on the transmission whose output shaft can be adjusted to turn the wheels at an appropriate speed.

Manual Transmission

The manual transmission is the simplest (and earliest) of transmissions, and consist of a system of interlocking gearwheels. These wheels are arranged so that by operating a lever the driver can choose one of several ratios of speed between the input shaft and the output shaft. These ratios are called gears, first gear being the arrangement that gives the lowest output speed, second gear the next lowest, and so forth. To allow smooth shifting from one gear to another, a clutch is provided to disengage the engine from the transmission. The commonly used dry single disk clutch has a steel disk with a friction lining that is sandwiched between a flywheel on the engine shaft and a pressure plate on the transmission input shaft. When the driver takes his foot off the clutch pedal, springs squeeze the friction disk into the space between the flywheel and the pressure plate, enabling the engine shaft to turn the transmission.

For many cars and for normal driving conditions a transmission with three forward gears and one reverse gear is sufficient. In cars having small engines transmissions with four or five forward speeds are used; racing cars often have as many as six forward speeds.

Synchromesh Transmission

A synchromesh transmission is a manual transmission in which all forward gear wheels are held in mesh at all times. Used on most American cars with a manual transmission, it allows the driver to shift gears more smoothly and makes the car run more quietly.

Automatic Transmission

The automatic transmission, introduced in 1939, switches to the optimum gear without driver intervention except for starting and going into reverse. The type of automatic transmission used on current American cars usually consists of a fluid device called a torque converter and a set of planetary gears. The torque converter transmits the engine’s power to the transmission using hydraulic fluid to make the connection. For more efficient operation at high speeds, a clutch plate is applied to create a direct mechanical connection between the transmission and the engine.

The introduction of microprocessor-controlled electronic sensors has enhanced the performance of automatic transmissions still more. Data about engine speed, exhaust pressure, and other performance characteristics are sent to a processor that controls the changing of gears and the clutch plate in the torque converter via electrical switches, or solenoids. New approaches to transmission design combine the best features of manual and automatic transmissions to provide more efficient ways of channeling engine power to the wheels.

Manumatic Transmission

A manumatic transmission is an automatic transmission with an added manual-shift mode; typically, a floor-mounted shifter offers an alternative selector path supplemented by buttons mounted on the steering wheel.

Continuously Variable Transmission

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) uses a belt that connects two variable-diameter pulleys to provide an unlimited number of ratio changes and uninterrupted power to the wheels; CVT transmissions offer better fuel efficiency than conventional automatic transmissions, which change the transmission ratio by shifting gears.

Sequential Manual Gearbox

A sequential manual gearbox (SMG), developed for Formula One cars, uses computer-controlled actuators to operate the clutch and change gears when prompted by the driver; both manual and automatic modes are possible, and there is no clutch pedal.

Dual Clutch Transmission

The dual clutch transmission (DCT), also called the direct shift gearbox (DSG), substitutes dual clutches for the conventional single-sided clutch to transfer power from the engine through two parallel paths; the gearbox features two sets of gears, identical to those in conventional manual transmissions—one set being the odd gears (1st, 3rd, 5th) and the other the even gears (2nd, 4th, 6th)—the gears must be shifted in sequence, and power to the wheels is never interrupted.

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Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Is Your Transmission Noisy in Neutral?

Troubling noises emanating from beneath your hood should not be neglected

Is your vehicle’s manual transmission noisy in neutral? Do you hear humming, buzzing, or whining noises when you let the clutch out in neutral? If your answer to these questions is ‘yes’, your vehicle’s transmission should be inspected by a certified technician, as it may be a warning sign that your transmission is failing.

Furthermore, if you hear unusual noises as you shift while accelerating, or if you feel your car shuddering when changing gears or find changing gears laborious, it’s possible your clutch is worn out.

For automatic transmissions, the warning signs are similar: the car struggles to change gears or gears are slipping, you’re unable to shift into reverse, or you notice a distinct burning smell while driving.

What Causes a Noisy Transmission?

Being proactive with preventative maintenance is your best defence to prolong the life of your manual or automatic transmission. But even if you are, and you follow the recommended best practices to prevent a transmission breakdown, there are no guarantees that an electronic or mechanical failure won’t occur.

Regarding a noisy transmission, the trouble could range from a lack or loss of transmission fluid; the incorrect fluid type was inserted into your transmission, gears or bearings have worn down, or there are damaged gear teeth.

If you suspect your vehicle’s transmission isn’t performing properly, or if you have questions about preventative transmission maintenance, contact us. Take advantage of our free 21-point multi-check inspection and avoid the cost and aggravation associated with a failing transmission.

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Do I Need a Transmission Cooler?

Transmission coolers help to protect your transmission when you turn up the heat.

Transmission Coolers help transmissions deal with the added stress and heat caused by towing boats, trailers and other heavy objects.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of automatic transmissions fail and the majority of them are due to overheating of the fluid.  Most of this overheating is due to today’s vehicles being engineered with downsized engines and transmissions in an effort to maximize fuel economy.  We demand the same or better performance from these smaller, more efficient powertrains, therefore they must work harder than ever before.

For the same reason, the addition of an auxiliary transmission fluid cooler isn’t just necessary for those who tow trailers anymore.  Many manufacturers are now also recommending the addition of a transmission cooler if you carry extra passengers or cargo (ie – vacation, car-pool), drive in stop-and-go traffic, drive in hot or very cold weather, or climb steep inclines.  This would likely be 90% of your customers, just as the above statistic would indicate.

Due to the extra strain placed on today’s vehicles, automatic transmissions require a lot from a transmission fluid.  The fluid must lubricate the moving parts, clean the interior surfaces, protect against corrosion, transmit energy, and most of all, cool the transmission.

When an automatic transmission’s temperature exceeds 200F, the transmission fluid is pushed to its limits. Overheated transmission fluid will break down causing seals to crack, moving parts to clash, and leaks to occur.  At Mister Transmission, we offer our own brand of high-quality transmission fluid coolers (also available at Canadian Tire) and the expertise to install them properly.

Mister Transmission’s aluminum-construction, transmission fluid coolers are among the best in the business.  Our coolers offer maximum heat dissipation by constantly swirling and agitating the fluid as it flows through, and with the addition of our thermostatic flow control we ensure that your customer’s transmission maintains the ideal temperature for shiftability and long-life.

There are many areas under the hood of a modern automobile where you could install a transmission cooler, but there’s really only one location where you will get the full 100% cooling efficiency.  You want to install the transmission fluid cooler in front of all other heat exchangers (ie – radiator, a/c condenser, etc) and in an area with good incoming airflow.

For every 20F degree drop in transmission fluid temperature, you can expect to extend the fluid and equipment life, thereby extending the life of the vehicle.  That’s why it is very important to have a quality transmission cooler, and more importantly, to have it professionally installed.

Mister Transmission recommends offering transmission fluid coolers to all of your customers since this would not only decrease the likelihood that they may suffer a premature transmission failure, benefiting both your customers and your business.  To ensure proper application and function of your customer’s transmission fluid cooler, we recommend you allow the experts at Mister Transmission to install it for you.

If you are interested in having a transmission cooler installed in your vehicle, please contact your local Mister Transmission and book an appointment for our FREE 21-Point Multi-Check Inspection.

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Transmission Additives- Do They Work?

When it comes to transmission additives, why are the shelves at most auto suppliers loaded with “miracle” fluids that will allegedly make up for a prior lack of maintenance? Can these additives actually fix a transmission?

Let`s be frank. There are no “miracle” fluids that can substitute for preventative maintenance, this is just common sense. The only way to repair a transmission problem is to properly diagnose it by road testing, scanning the computer, and removing the pan for inspection.

Fluid additives do offer limited benefits for vehicles being used for certain tasks or in certain climates or weather conditions. Here we’ll cover the basics of ATF importance, why most vehicles don’t require these additives and the instances when ATF additives can help.

First of all, a refresher on why we need ATF in the first place. ATF is essential to the smooth running of a vehicle’s transmission. ATF has lubricants, protectants and detergents that protect the transmission and keeps it in good working order.

Generally, most vehicles are simply used to take people to work, school or shopping so don’t need ATF additives. For these everyday activities the manufacturer recommended automatic transmission fluid alone should be enough to protect the transmission in most situations they will encounter. As long as the owner of the vehicle takes the time to makes sure there is enough transmission fluid in it and they change the transmission fluid when it is dirty there should be no need for an automatic transmission fluid additive.

There is no fluid that will:

  • unclog plugged filters
  • free-up stuck valves/solenoids
  • reduce internal corrosion
  • improve shift feel/firmness
  • prolong the life of your transmission
  • replace the friction material on your transmission’s clutch plates
  • put the teeth back on the stripped gears

Keep in mind that most vehicle manufacturers have warnings in their owner’s manuals stating: “Do not use supplemental oil additives, cleaners or other treatments. They are unnecessary and could lead to damage that is not covered by warranty.” Or: “Using supplemental additives is generally unnecessary and can even be harmful. One should never use an additive to attempt to fix a mechanical problem.”

Who could benefit from using additives?

A small majority of vehicle owners could potentially benefit from using these additives. Mainly, vehicles with high mileage which are constantly being used to tow heavy loads in adverse weather conditions. Heat and wear are the enemies of a transmission. Vehicles which are involved in racing or towing heavy loads are hard on transmissions. They often generate excessive heat. While transmissions have built-in systems to mitigate some of this heat and strain these activities cause, the transmissions in vehicles which are under a great deal of stress can often benefit from using automatic transmission fluid additives.

For the owners of these vehicles the minor cost of additives makes using them a no brainer. Hence, there seem to be instances when ATF additives can help yet even in those situations, however, it is essential to get the right ATF additive.

So, the next time someone tells you they have a miraculous transmission additive for sale you’ll know better.

If you’re experiencing any sort of transmission problem, please contact your local Mister Transmission and book an appointment for our FREE 21-Point Multi-Check Inspection.

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